Bucs return to winning ways against Stars

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Johannesburg – Visiting Orlando Pirates scored three unanswered first half goal to ease past Platinum Stars 3-0 in a Premiership clash at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace in Rustenburg on Monday.

It was the first time Pirates were able to beat Stars this season, having lost both previous encounters, first in the final of the MTN8, then again in the final of the Telkom Knockout cup tournament.

Pirates broke the deadlock in the fifth minute through Thandani Ntshumayelo, before Oupa Manyisa doubled the advantage in the 18th minute, both from assists by Kermit Erasmus.

Daine Klate then added Pirates' third in the 33rd minute, again courtesy of Erasmus's boot, to send the visitors into the half-time break leading comfortably.

It took little under five minutes for Pirates to take the lead through Ntshumayelo, who slid in a simple conversion, after Erasmus sent an inch perfect delivery across the face of goal.

Pirates were looking festive and had Erasmus and Oupa Manyisa go close to scoring shortly after the opener, but Stars' goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane was fortunate to keep the pair out.

The Buccaneers refused to let up and before long, Pirates extended their advantage.

Erasmus ran onto a ball over the top, before delivering another superb cross into the area, leaving Manyisa a simple touch to steer his shot past Mpontshane, who was helpless as the visitors looked rampant.

Erasmus was in devastating form and soon had his third assist of the afternoon as the Sea Robbers went 3-0 ahead.

The former SuperSport United attacker picked up on a pass and made a darting run at the heart of the Stars defence, looking as if he would go for glory himself.

But Erasmus teed-up his teammate inside the area, before Klate – also a former United star – added the finishing touches, and sent Pirates into a seemingly unassailable lead before the interval.

Dikwena struggled to find their rhythm in the second period but finally had an opportunity after the hour mark, as second half replacement Thabani Mthembu caused problems in the Pirates area, but could only manage to have his effort blocked by a solid defensive performance.

Mthembu then tested Pirates' shot-stopper Senzo Meyiwa in the 69th minute, before Pirates replied through Erasmus, who had his powerful effort parried away by Mpontshane.

The game was stretched and further chances fell on either side, with Erasmus and Mogakolodi Ngele trading blows, but both goalkeepers were solid and neither could find the net.

The victory lifts Roger De Sa's side off the foot of the table and into 15th place, level on 10 points with Golden Arrows, but they still have six games in hand over the rest of the league. – Sapa

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